Cockerill looks ahead to Leinster
Hear from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he looks ahead to Friday night's match against Leinster at the RDS Arena in round three of the Guinness PRO14.
On the challenge of Leinster
“It’s another big challenge for us. They’ve got some real experience in key areas in the spine of that team. If you let Leinster get on the front foot and control the tempo of the game they’re going to cause problems. We hope to put up a bit more of a fight than Ospreys did.”
"Whenever you go to Dublin, you’re always going to face a huge test. They have a huge amount of experience across that team and they can win games with 15 guys missing at the World Cup.
"We know that they’ll be dangerous and we know that everyone will expect them to win, but people probably thought that last week when we travelled to Cardiff. We’ll go to Leinster with optimism and we’ll go there to win."
On the fitness of Duhan van der Merwe and Lewis Carmichael
“We hope Duhan will be fit. He’s not done any contact so far, and he’s unlikely to, but we’re hoping to get him comfortable enough to play.
“Lewis has got a slight ankle problem. He had an accident in training – just went over on his ankle. So we’re hopeful he’ll be all right, but we’ll see. It’s too early to tell.”
On Van der Merwe’s impressive outing against Cardiff Blues
“It’s a game of rugby where people miss tackles or don’t tackle as well as they could or should. If you run hard, you test the defence.
“Duhan is very quick, he’s very agile. We manipulated our attack to run at the weaker seams and we managed to get through them on a couple of occasions.”
On the Cardiff Blues win
“I was unsure where we’d get to with Cardiff – they had a good win on the road at Kings and they’re not missing many, and there’s been a bit of chat from them asking is this the year they do a Connacht and get a good start and all that sort of stuff.
“We had to go away from home and stay in the battle and take the points home. It’s a hard place to go and play. I’m not a betting man, but I’m sure the odds were pretty much against us getting a result. But I’m delighted with it because it’s four points we gain and teams will find it hard to go there and win.
“Our physicality was really good and out attitude to play was really pleasing. When you’re away from, it’s all about staying in the game. The match ebbed and flowed and we could have easily found a way to lose it, but we didn’t. We showed great maturity to close out the game and secure some really important points with regards to the Conference.